New round of Vioxx suits filed in St. Clair County

Jeff Lowe

Joseph Danis

Two new Vioxx lawsuits filed in St. Clair County on behalf of 21 Illinois plaintiffs not only allege pharmaceutical Merck was negligent for producing a defective product, they cast blame on several major retailers for selling the pain reliever to sickly customers.

St. Louis attorney Jeffrey Lowe, who has filed numerous Vioxx complaints in Madison and St. Clair Counties, represents Gloria Jackson, Raymond Weems, Alberta Powell, Mary Lindsay, James Larsen, Raymond Gifford, Virgil Wayne Deboer, Joseph Giertuga, Mary Scott and James McMullin in a case against Merck, Walgreens, Osco Drugs, K-Mart and Wal-Mart.

Plaintiffs in another suit, Peggie Craig, Virginia Wilkerson, Ronald Newnum, Sheldon Wolfe, Elma Prince, Charlotte Yancey, Leland Ray Spiller, Steve Needham, Bernard Johnson, Kenneth Spain and Diane Forbes take aim at Merck, Walgreens and K-Mart.

Both suits were filed Oct. 12. The plaintiffs also are represented by Joseph P. Danis of Carey & Danis in St. Louis, T. Evan Schaeffer and Andrea B. Lamere of Schaeffer & Lamere in Godfrey and Evan Buxner of the Walther Glenn Law Offices in St. Louis.

The plaintiffs claim their use of Vioxx contributed to their health problems or caused them to suffer strokes or heart attacks.

Each 11-count suit claims St. Clair County is an appropriate venue.

"There is no federal subject matter jurisdiction because no federal question is raised and there is no jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship," the suits state.

"Venue is proper in this court because seller defendants have offices or do business in St. Clair County."

More than 4,000 product liability lawsuits have been filed against Merck since the pharmaceutical pulled the drug from the market a year ago.

In St. Clair County, more than 40 Vioxx lawsuits have been filed since last October.

In August, a Texas jury awarded $253 million to a widow who blamed her husband's death on his use on the drug in the first of its kind trial. The award was shaved down to $26.1 million because of the state's rules on punitive damages.

The jury's decision in favor of the plaintiff was expected to invite even more Vioxx lawsuits.

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